File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS Yanai Elbaz, front, and his brother Yohann Elbaz, left, arrive for their fraud trial at the courthouse in relation to the MUHC hospital in Montreal.

Ex-manager sentenced to 39 months prison in hospital corruption case

MONTREAL — A former hospital executive who pocketed a $10-million bribe in return for helping engineering giant SNC-Lavalin win a Montreal hospital-building contract was sentenced Monday to 39 months in prison.

Quebec court Judge Claude Leblond sentenced Yanai Elbaz in a case that has been described by Quebec authorities as the largest corruption fraud case in Canadian history.

Elbaz and Arthur Porter, the former CEO of Montreal’s English-language superhospital received a total of $22.5 million to rig the bidding process to favour SNC-Lavalin, an agreed statement of facts in the case said. Porter died a fugitive in Panamanian custody in 2015 without ever facing trial.

Leblond accepted a joint recommendation from the defence and Crown that followed Elbaz’s Nov. 26 guilty plea. “The court considers the common suggestion proposed is an adequate sentence in the circumstances,” Leblond said. “It is not contrary to the public order.”

Elbaz pleaded guilty to four charges: accepting a bribe, influence peddling, breach of trust and money laundering.

In an agreed statement of facts tied to Elbaz’s plea, the former MUHC senior manager admitted to giving privileged information to SNC-Lavalin to help its submission for the contract to build a massive hospital complex in west-end Montreal. Elbaz also admitted to denigrating SNC’s competitors in front of the hospital’s selection committee.

Elbaz has been detained since his guilty plea, and Leblond took those days in custody into consideration, knocking 32 days off his sentence.

Elbaz is prohibited from communicating with former and current SNC-Lavalin executives as well as potential witnesses in pending trials. The only outstanding case among those originally charged is former SNC-Lavalin chief executive Pierre Duhaime. His trial is set to begin in February.

Prosecutor Claudie Lalonde-Tardif welcomed the sentence, saying prosecutors will seek orders to seize Elbaz’s bank accounts and a home in the coming weeks.

“It’s certainly a message of dissuasion,” she said. “It is a significant sentence under the circumstances, and it reminds people crime doesn’t pay, and there will be significant sentence handed down by the courts.”

Before declaring the sentence, Leblond ruled against the McGill University Health Centre, which had been seeking an order granting it $6-million frozen in Elbaz’s Swiss bank account.

Alexander De Zordo, a lawyer for the hospital, had told the court the MUHC contract was inflated by up to 20 per cent, meaning it is owed as much as $934 million.

While the contract to build the hospital complex was $1.3 billion, the total cost was close to $4.6 billion when costs of managing the public-private partnership were factored in. Since seeking $934 million from Elbaz is unrealistic, De Zordo suggested the hospital should receive at least what is in the frozen bank account.

Just Posted

Gasoline Alley Harley Davidson hosts 7th annual Toy Run

Bikers jumped on their motorcycles this weekend to help make Christmas better… Continue reading

Innisfail RCMP locate drugs during traffic stop

A Rocky Mountain House man is facing charges after Innisfail RCMP located… Continue reading

Expert says acquittal of Alberta parents in boy’s death unlikely to set precedent

CALGARY — A law professor says the acquittal of an Alberta couple… Continue reading

Take Back the Night rally marches through downtown Red Deer

Dozens marched through the city’s downtown chanting, “Red Deer unite, take back… Continue reading

Houston area sees relief, rescues after Imelda leaves 4 dead

HOUSTON — Emergency workers used boats Friday to rescue about 60 residents… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Tuesday Bower Place Community Association Seniors Card and Coffee party at 1:30… Continue reading

Missing hiker found safe after spending night on North Vancouver mountain

VANCOUVER — Rescue crews have found a missing female hiker safe after… Continue reading

Trudeau was only one in dark makeup at 2001 party but nobody took offence: attendee

VANCOUVER — A man who attended an “Arabian Nights” gala held by… Continue reading

McKenna defends Canada’s climate credibility amid Trudeau controversy

OTTAWA — Liberal cabinet minister Catherine McKenna says Canada still has credibility… Continue reading

Blue Jays rookie Bo Bichette trying to “be smart” with head injury

NEW YORK — Blue Jays rookie shortstop Bo Bichette says he’s feeling… Continue reading

Climate activists step up protests in Britain and France

PARIS — Environmental activists in Britain and France stepped up campaigns Saturday… Continue reading

Man from Winnipeg who was hiking alone found dead in Banff National Park

LAKE LOUISE, Alta. — A hiker has been found dead in Banff… Continue reading

Singh campaigns in Toronto, May in Winnipeg, as Liberal and Tory leaders pause

OTTAWA — Jagmeet Singh and Elizabeth May are continuing on the campaign… Continue reading

Most Read